Twin brothers named Hart, both local police officers, undergo heart transplants
East Grand Forks police detective Tony Hart had his transplant two years ago. Thief River Falls police investigator Andy Hart just returned home. A benefit is planned for Friday.
THIEF RIVER FALLS — Andy Hart sits under a welcome home banner inside his Thief River Falls home.
"Feels good to be home, I've slept like a rock the past few nights," he said.
With a police escort, the juvenile crimes investigator for the Thief River Falls Police Department came home a week ago after undergoing a life-saving heart transplant.
It was an emotional reunion. The 41-year-old had been at the Mayo Clinic since Dec. 19, and had not seen his four kids since then.
His wife Brittany Hart remained by his side for all but two weeks of his stay.
"I'm back now, feeling good and hopefully we can move on from this," Andy Hart said.
Andy's twin brother Tony, who is a detective with the East Grand Forks Police Department, underwent a life-saving transplant two years ago.
"Nobody likes a copy cat. We joke around with it a lot. That's how we deal with things, it brought us closer I guess, only strengthened our bond," said his twin brother Tony Hart.
The brothers were both diagnosed with heart disease in 2008.
In the fall of 2020, Tony Hart's organs began to fail. It was determined his heart was too weak to pump blood.
"It's easier to be in the bed than being around the bed. I thought it was easier when I went through it, because I didn't like seeing him like that I guess," Tony Hart said.
After Tony Hart's transplant, doctors took a more proactive approach with Andy Hart over the past two years.
Just before Christmas and just four days after the two year anniversary of his brother being flown to Mayo for the emergency transplant, during a routine checkup doctors decided Andy Hart had to be flown to Mayo for his own transplant.
"In the back of my head I always did I guess, but I didn't want to believe it. I couldn't come to terms with it right away, but I knew it was coming," Andy Hart said.
At first, doctors said Andy Hart may have to wait six weeks for a new heart. Instead, it arrived eight days after his arrival.
"I was scared. Thankfully I don't remember most of it," Andy Hart said.
After four months of adjusting to life with his new heart, including staying a month longer than scheduled, Andy Hart is looking forward to getting back to work on light duty in the coming weeks.
"A few changes to the diet, few more medications, but I hope to regain all my faculties and get my strength and endurance back and be good as new," Andy Hart said.
He knows his true brother in blue is ready for those heart-to-heart talks when needed.
"It's been a lot of help. We both went through it. He was the first one, he knows what's going on and if I'm having a rough day with therapy or with feeling badly I can always talk with him," Andy Hart said.
"We are going to be able to bounce off different things that are happening, if we feel symptoms, or experiences, we have that sounding board to bounce that off of, so that will be nice," Tony Hart said.
From the bottom of his new heart, Andy Hart wants to thank the Thief River Falls community for all the love and prayers for him, and for those who helped take care of his four children, getting them to school and activities each day.
"Fear it's a debt I'll never be able to repay to the community, because they have been so helpful with my family," Andy Hart said.
A benefit to help the Hart family will be held Friday, May 5, at 5 p.m. at the Fraternal Order of Eagles located at 305 Red Lake Blvd. There will be live and silent auctions, a bake sale, donation boxes, 50/50 raffle and more.
Donations for items to be sold at auction during the benefit are being collected by volunteers.
Monetary donations can be made through Venmo at @AndyHartBenefit.
Donations can also be made at any Border Bank under the Andy Hart Benefit Account.
For more information about the benefit, contact Dusty at 218-689-1691, or Mike at 218-689-0919.